This post represents a first here at The Finer Point. I will be collaborating on a two part review with Priya from The London Parchment on a stationery item we both have a shared affinity for, the Hightide pen roll. I have been using the Hightide pen roll for a short period of time and will kick off the review collaboration with my thoughts after a few weeks of use. In Part 2 Priya will share a more detailed, long term review over at The London Parchment. We hope you enjoy this joint review collaboration and find our thoughts helpful.
Why the Hightide pen roll?
Priya is the reason I bought the Hightide pen roll. I decided had to have this pen roll after reading her interview with Pocket Notebooks and was immediately drawn to it in part because of the vibrant yellow, but also because I had been intrigued by pen rolls for some time. To me a pen roll suggested creativity and made me think of an artist with a pen roll full of pencils, drawing pens and brushes. It is totally a romanticised view of a stationery tool but it’s the image that has always been conjured in my mind. I had in the past, and still do, love the look of The Superior Labor Leather Carrier, however as this is leather it was a tad expensive and hard to come by in the UK. After seeing the Hightide pen roll in Priya’s interview I immediately wanted to find out more about it, which proved tricky as reviews are limited. There are a couple of online retailers here in the UK where you can pick one of these up for a very reasonable £10 so the risk of buying it and not enjoying it was minimal.
Initial impressions and the plus points
After using the pen roll for a little while now there are some things that I really like. Firstly the Hightide pen roll is a piece of canvas material that adapts in size based on what you're carrying. The pen roll is one large pouch secured with a natural leather strap.
You can really stuff this thing full of pens and pencils and it will grow with you, or you can just have a minimal carry. The leather strap is a simple addition to the design whilst working really well on keeping its contents safely in place.
I love the bold colour options and design of the pen roll. Personally the bright, vibrant yellow was the pen roll for me however there are other options available including black, khaki, bright red, navy, plus some others. I was a little concerned that the canvas would mark and get grubby really quickly but this hasn’t been the case at all. Inside I have some pencil marks where I didn't use a pencil cap but these marks have not shown through to the outside of the case. It has also fared well with dirt and kept its vibrancy. Full disclosure, I don’t throw this in and out of a bag everyday, so this will have some part to play. But from my experience it doesn’t pick up marks and scuffs easily. The canvas can take a battering which is what you want, and expect from a pen roll that is supposed to be used on the move.
Finally I really like the fact that the branding is almost non existent. There isn’t a tag or a logo printed anywhere on the case and there is nothing on the leather. In fact I cannot see Hightide branding anywhere on this pen roll. The only thing visible is ‘The Genuine Field Stationery’ tag line along with an image of a dog holding what looks like a pen roll. This is the only hint that this is a Hightide pen roll.
The small cons
There are a couple of downsides with the Hightide pen roll but they really are minimal and not big problems for me. The width of the pen roll makes carrying full sized pencils a challenge and is even worse if you add on a pencil cap. Blackwings need to be well used to fit in the pen roll. Even with ferrule-less pencils you cannot put a fresh, unused pencil in this pen roll. A little additional width would be welcome with the Hightide pen roll. I am aware it’s not called a pencil roll but in order to carry around a range of tools this would have been helpful.
The only other con I can come up with for the Hightide pen roll is that it can be a little tricky to find what you're looking for inside. But that feels like I am cheating as it's a pen roll and what did I expect?
How does this stack up against my other pen cases?
I have reviewed several other pen cases and storage items here on the blog. In terms of a comparison the Hightide pen roll is very different. The format is different and its designed uses are different therefore I feel like I have found a good complimentary product.
For example comparing it with the Nock Co Lookout hardly seems fair. The Lookout is designed to mainly keep your high end pens secure in a well designed case. I am not sure I would throw (m)any fountain pens in my Hightide pen roll for fear of damage or leaking and because there isn’t enough padding to protect them. Therefore the Nock Co Lookout and the Hightide pen roll actually work together serving different purposes. My Hightide pen roll has become a catch all for my gel pens, drawing pens and pencils working well with my new foray into Bullet Journaling.
Comparing the pen roll to the Lihit Lab Otomo pencil case I reviewed a few months ago is where I think closer comparisons can be made. The Lihit Lab Otomo pencil case is a traditional pencil case. For me the Hightide pen roll wins the battle due to its expandability and adaptability to different tools. The Lihit Lab pen case has a smaller capacity and can only house so many pens whereas the Hightide pen roll just keeps growing the more you include.
I really like my Hightide pen roll and I am really glad Priya introduced me to this pen case. I have enjoyed using and admiring it and I feel it has become one of the stationery items that will stay in use for a long time. It looks good, is functional and feels really durable. And for the low outlay cost it’s one of those little stationery gems.
Don't forget to check out Part 2 of the Hightide Pen Roll Review which will features on The London Parchment to get Priya's thoughts on this pen case after six months of use.